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Cooper craft - Cautionary notes for customers - Its fate and thoughts on an alternative


Edwardian
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HI,

I placed an order with Coopercraft over 5 weeks ago and have not received the goods or any response to emails that have been sent.   I am fully aware of the large commitment that smaller suppliers make to our hobby and try and support them where possible.  I do, however, loose sympathy when treated with contempt by a supplier.  I am aware of the message on the web site that indicates that there is a problem with some of the manufacturing equipment but this does not excuse the lack of response to contact made.

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There are several topics on Coopercraft that you need to search for and read. You're not alone in losing your order into a black hole.

 

The only way to get Coopercraft stuff I know of is to buy it on eBay from people disposing of unbuilt kit collections.

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Most recently discussed here I think

 

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/112011-coopercraft/

 

If you have paid perhaps worth talking to the card company

 

 

Although if you follow the instructions (in large red type) on the Coopercraft website, you would not have paid any money.

 

Quote - Due to some of the Cooper Craft, Mailcoach, Kirk & Slater's have been out of stock due to a problem with my machine, it will be best for you to place your order but not pay for it at that time. I can let you know when back in stock before you pay for it.

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Although if you follow the instructions (in large red type) on the Coopercraft website, you would not have paid any money.

 

Quote - Due to some of the Cooper Craft, Mailcoach, Kirk & Slater's have been out of stock due to a problem with my machine, it will be best for you to place your order but not pay for it at that time. I can let you know when back in stock before you pay for it.

Seems fairly safe to say product arrival chance practically zero, judging by the last few years of complaints Edited by lofty1966
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I suggest anyone who has sent money into this black hole contacts Trading Standards.

 

A solicitor's letter also tends to focus attention.  If a number of people were in the same boat, it would be an economic exercise.

 

Something needs to get this guy's attention.

 

Generally I think small suppliers should be afforded significant latitude, but this is surely an extreme example; a number of cherished and important ranges in the hands of someone who has totally neglected customers and potential customers over a period of several years.

 

I started this topic simply because the last topic on Coopercraft had been locked several years ago and I wanted to know what was happening.  The answer appears to be "still nothing".

 

Why the owner does not sell is beyond me.

 

As it is, he has taken the goodwill and the products of several brilliant brands and p*ssed it all up against the wall.  I do not believe for a moment that Coopercraft will ever make good; all it seems to have achieved, and all it is ever likely to achieve, is to render permanent the non-availability of a shed-load of great stuff, the like of which we'll never see again.

 

I still have received no answer from Coopercraft to my enquiry.  My little store of patience is exhausted.

 

What a service Coopercraft has rendered this hobby!   

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Since this topic started, I've managed to buy 5 x 4 plank open wagons and 2 x loco coal wagons. Not direct from Coopercraft of course, but from eBay. Extreme violence will take place soon, to convert them to broad gauge :butcher:.

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Something needs to get this guy's attention.

 

SADLY THIS WONT ! HE HASN'T BEEN ON HERE FOR A WHILE!

 

Why the owner does not sell is beyond me.

 

I SUPPOSE HE DREAMS OF SORTING THE MESS OUT ONE DAY AND MAKEING SOME ITEMS !

 

What a service Coopercraft has rendered this hobby!

 

WHICH SERVICE THE ONE OF ENSURING STOCKS OF OLD KITS GETS USED UP BY ANY CHANCE ?!

 

Annoying what's happening to kits what with Cambrian wanting to retire as well , RTR stuff is very nice now a days but none of it is of the Coopercraft and Cambrian type/model

Edited by Graham456
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Although if you follow the instructions (in large red type) on the Coopercraft website, you would not have paid any money.

 

Quote - Due to some of the Cooper Craft, Mailcoach, Kirk & Slater's have been out of stock due to a problem with my machine, it will be best for you to place your order but not pay for it at that time. I can let you know when back in stock before you pay for it.

Ignoring the terrible grammar, should that apply to people ordering Blacksmiths kits, for example? (I know the answer is yes, obviously)

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WHICH SERVICE THE ONE OF ENSURING STOCKS OF OLD KITS GETS USED UP BY ANY CHANCE ?!

They'll run out eventually, or the hoarders who never get rid of anything will hang onto them. What do we do then? The Coopercraft GWR wagons are so useful because although they are early 1900s prototypes, they can be backdated 30 or so years. Edited by BG John
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Ignoring the terrible grammar, should that apply to people ordering Blacksmiths kits, for example? (I know the answer is yes, obviously)

I think that quite a lot of the Blacksmith etched coach range is available as etches only, no castings being available. When I get chance I need too peruse what etches are available and see what other sources are availble too turn them into complete kits. I did see a couple of boxes of etches when at Railex, but did not have time to investigate exactly what was on offer.

 

My advice would be to only buy at shows when you have what you want in your hot and sweaty mits.

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I’m not looking for a fight, but am just throwing this out for discussion:

 

Are we asking for something too “old tech” to reasonably expect anyone to make a viable venture of in the coming years?

 

In my crystal ball I see in the not to distant future a business with a good e-commerce site that you can click on the model of your choice and as soon as your debit card is authorised one of a bank of almost unattended 3D printing machines gets straight to work on your order. Perhaps on quieter days the machines produce mosdest stock piles of the most requested items.

 

Practically no employees, minimal cash tied up in stock, product paid for and produced on demand. For the customer, a vast range always on tap.

 

I’d have a go; all I need is three partners: #1 with some capital, #2 with good prototype knowledge and #3 with CAD and IT skills.

 

As a building contractor I found myself in a primary school this morning marvelling at what six and seven yaer olds were churning out on their little machine. I know this technology is in its infancy and there are probably limits to what can be achieved today but I bet it was only 7 years or so ago that we thought burning our own CDs was wonderful (you know the things you don’t play anymore because everything is now mp3 or streamed).

 

Just a thought………

 

Pete.

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Isn't that pretty much what people like Shapeways do? At a much higher price and inferior quality at the moment. It may be different in the future, but right now there are lots of useful kits that aren't available, unless you can find unbuilt ones second hand.

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Annoying what's happening to kits what with Cambrian wanting to retire as well , RTR stuff is very nice now a days but none of it is of the Coopercraft and Cambrian type/model

Cambrian retire? I hope not before he releases the LSWR D1410 van and D1543 Brake Van......

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Isn't that pretty much what people like Shapeways do? At a much higher price and inferior quality at the moment. It may be different in the future, but right now there are lots of useful kits that aren't available, unless you can find unbuilt ones second hand.

 

Sort of, but my understanding is that most of what Shapeways sell is produced (designed) by individual enthusiasts pretty much as one-offs rather than a business producing a coherent range of product.

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More directly on topic; I currently have an obsession over trying to increase the variety of my GWR coaching stock but was aware from this forum and the Coopercraft website that there were supply issues.

 

I then found that Coopercraft and Comet were going to be almost side-by-side at an exhibition in Nottingham so dragged on the leathers and took a ride over. The gentleman on the stand was helpful enough, running through with me what he could and could not supply me with. I came away with Kirk Toplight all-third sides, ends, roof chassis and (I think) interior. OK, it was not the brake third that I really wanted but at least I had another different coach. I seem to recall that only one side of the brake third was available and not the other. Bogies were not available but I have a box full from other sources.

 

The build has started but not finished. I doubt I will use the chassis I purchased; I will probably sit the body on a Comet one. The body shell looks reasonably promising, it is currently all-over cream with a white roof and the brown paint will be applied to the lower half when this project comes back to the top of the pile. There was a bit of a gap between the roof and side at one end though which I have had to fill. Perhaps I have a twisted roof or lack experience in the building of these but the ends and sides all look to be square so I am at a bit of a loss to explain why the roof and sides have not married up in one corner. Whilst it is niggling me at the moment I expect I will forget about it in time. I would certainly buy the brake third if I could get it.

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Sort of, but my understanding is that most of what Shapeways sell is produced (designed) by individual enthusiasts pretty much as one-offs rather than a business producing a coherent range of product.

We've had lots of businesses producing coherent ranges of products, but I wonder how many would have been able to afford their own 3D printers, especially as many are/were small/part time/hobby businesses. Eventually the owners retire, and we could be left with another Coopercraft, but with a 3D printer needing repair rather than and injection moulding machine.

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I also had a look at the Coppercraft stall at Railex. Not sure what the position was regard to the plastic kits, but he did have the etchings for a lot of the Blacksmith coach kits and other items such as fencing. I think that he was trying to get the castings done for these, but as has been mentioned previously, not sure how easy it is to identify which parts match which kits. With the loss of other manufacturers such as D. & S. who provided a very good selection of parts from their kits, most of which have fallen into the black hole of Weymouth, it is not always easy to find suitable components from alternative sources.

 

I did hear from another source that perhaps Coopercraft did not actually own the tools for the Slaters wagon and coach kits and that there might be moves to get them back. Anybody know anymore ?

 

With regard to Cambrian, I had heard that he was thinking of retiring and asked him at the Chatham show. He said that he was thinking of retiring next year, but was hoping to sell on the business on. He did have a pre-production model for the L.S.W.R. van on show and said that he hoped to have that available in the near future and also produce the brake van before he retired.

 

RB

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Sort of, but my understanding is that most of what Shapeways sell is produced (designed) by individual enthusiasts pretty much as one-offs rather than a business producing a coherent range of product.

 

This is true in most cases, but you have the advantage that if you talk said enthusiasts into designing things for you, those items remains available on Shapeways indefinitely. They don't disappear when an individual retires.

 

Further, if the drawing time for an item is not too much, an enthusiast may draw up a new product pro bono, with no need to work out a business case. I've done this a couple of times.

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Although if you follow the instructions (in large red type) on the Coopercraft website, you would not have paid any money.

 

Quote - Due to some of the Cooper Craft, Mailcoach, Kirk & Slater's have been out of stock due to a problem with my machine, it will be best for you to place your order but not pay for it at that time. I can let you know when back in stock before you pay for it.

 

All well and good quoting some blurb on the site. However you cannot follow the instructions as the site automatically takes payment on order. If you try to cancel the payment, the order is not created.

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  • 5 months later...

I've got 3 shiny "new" Coopercraft 4 plank opens on my modelling bench, and 2 loco coal wagons in the post, but I could do with more 4 planks. See my post in the Wanted Forum. These all came up on eBay since this topic started, so they are available if you watch out for them. Not as good as buying new from the manufacturer or a shop though.

 

It is those early 4 and 5 plank open GWR wagons I really miss.

 

As for 3D printing : I think it has a long way to go before you can get highly detailed models using that technology.

Edited by brian777999
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Didn't realise it was as long ago as July when I spoke to him. Time to pay a visit I think, it may be the only way my son will see his money back.

 

As for this:  Due to some of the Cooper Craft, Mailcoach, Kirk & Slater's have been out of stock due to a problem with my machine, it will be best for you to place your order but not pay for it at that time. I can let you know when back in stock before you pay for it.

 

It went up a few days after my son ordered.

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